Resolutions Kept, Intentions Honed

It’s January 2nd, 2020. I’m really proud to say that I’ve honed resolutions over the past few years into intentional action and positive outcomes. They say that behavior is hard to change and lifestyle is almost impossible. But I’m proud to say that I’ve done it in a few ways over a course of many years, evolving and renewing resolutions.

In 2013, in a moment of hapless inspiration and desperation, I moved to a standing desk. I got so much relief from my prior back issues by making that change, that I started running within a few weeks and just kept adding to the frequency and the distance and attempts at better pace.

In January of 2014 I made a resolution to work out at least once a week without fail. I didn’t even define “workout.” I just knew I’d know if I was cheating and I was inspired to keep running.

In the course of that year my running ratcheted up a lot. I dropped 50 pounds, from about 30 lbs overweight, back to my high school Soccer weight. I was enjoying the running enough that I kept at it. I started entering 5ks, and 10ks and by November 2014 I signed up for a half marathon. I was staying with the fitness and I was digging it. The running helped me stay healthy, helped with mental and physical stress, and dovetailed nicely with an increasingly regular meditation practice.

In 2015 I renewed the resolution but upped it to a goal of 365 miles, or a mile a day. I started going to a meditation group a few times a month. I started feeling like things were getting more intentional. I also started seeing a personal therapist to help me with my levels of stress.

In 2016 I upped my goal to 500 miles but I definitely slid back a bit in that year, and I noticed it. There was a lot going on at work and at home. By the end of August I wasn’t even close to half way toward my minimum goal of 365. I wanted to catch up so signed up for the half marathon again and knocked out a total of 440 miles before the end of the year.

In 2017 I turned 40. This was also the 40th anniversary of the Richmond Marathon. So this year I spoke my intention out loud. I want to run the Richmond. The full one. I’m going to finish it. It might not be pretty but I’m gonna do it.

One of my clients, who is also a friend, told me that I’m too fat, and that I was going to hurt myself. So much of the achievement is mental and he was messing with my head. It was upsetting but nowhere near derailing. Coming at me from a position of experience, having completed a couple marathons himself, it definitely pissed me off. But I used it. I told him right then, “If I finish this marathon in 4 hrs and 30 minutes I will be utterly thrilled. And you’re out of line. So forget you.” I smiled but I wasn’t happy with him. And I didn’t say “forget.”

I finished in less than 4:31. That was a major life goal that seemed impossible in any year prior to 2013. I cried somewhere around the 24 mile mark, because I thought I was going to die but I already knew I was going to finish and I’d be fine.

I’ve run the half marathon both years since and clocked over 3000 running miles since 2013. I’ve honed my intentions and seen them play out. I work out with greater frequency and I’ve made running and meditation an essential practice of my lifestyle. I feel like I have succeeded at the thing that is a cliche to try or even announce, especially in early January.

The year is 2020 and my intention is to reflect on what I have achieved, what I have endured, and what I have to be grateful for. I’m reclaiming my own highest instincts for what is correct and holding myself to account for creating a more vibrational joie de vivre and a deeper peace-in-the-face-of-adversity that will serve me well and that may benefit others.



High Resolution

I’ve been journaling about my New Year’s resolutions for the past few years. I’ve managed to keep them and carry them forward. They’ve focused mostly around running, meditation and making art.

This year I’ve run over 800 miles and just finished my first marathon with a respectable time — for a 40 year old dude who just started running a few years ago.

A few years ago, finishing a marathon popped into my head as a goal and soon after that it started to feel like an inevitibility. And just like that, I did it. And now it’s over. Doesn’t seem as difficult in the rearview.

Looking forward to what 2018 has in store. Drinking more water, more often, is a pretty radical practice I’ll take on.

Burning Light

Kimio Eto Interpretation for Guitar

I’m happy with this drawing.

I saw an image of the artwork from Kimio Eto’s “Koto Music” album and it really landed for me. Instant impact. I feel that art “on art’s terms” is largely overlooked due to the quiet value it offers amid competing bids for attention from an accelerating and unprecedented variety of commercial media. But sometimes a piece of art just connects and makes you stop and say “Oh.”

I saw this album and had to know what the music sounded like. I gave it a spin via YouTube [+] and began studying the cover with paper and ink.

My goal was not to copy the cover but see where I ended up by studying it’s character and line and energy. Receive it and express it and change it in the process.

I’m tempted to explain the associations that ran through my mind as I steered the image toward my own thoughts and interpretations but instead I’ll just leave it here.

Look for the Helpers

No shortage of a cause for pause lately. The news cycle is hungry and it’s diet is bleak.

This morning while running in the rain my wandering mind rearranged some commonly quoted wisdom into one cohesive rhyme:

Two men looking through prison bars, one sees mud and one sees stars. We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are. So focus on the healing not on the scar.

Remixing Anais Nin, Dale Carnegie and Fred Rogers

Listen Silent

Stillness will lead you to a new awareness. Though it never really happens. Even the roots of a tree are on the move, finding water and soil while being still. Sitting motionless is a nice aspiration, but don’t forget to breathe. Breathe totally but listen closely and invite silence to access stillness. Stillness exists only behind the things. It’s the space that is not subject to motion.

Listen Stillness is Silent [+]

Resolutions, Backslides and Breakthroughs

After 2 consecutive years of keeping and building on my new year’s resolutions, this year I hit some speed bumps.

Despite the wobbles of plateau’d training in 2016, I just registered for my third consecutive Richmond Half Marathon and in 2017 I’m going to complete a full marathon. That’s the one thing. I’ll keep practicing meditation. I’m going to unlock more of my creative intuition and bring it further into action in my life — through art, design, writing.

But the new “one big thing” is training for and completing a marathon in 2017, my 40th year. I’ve already proven most of the benchmarks and have already begun on the road to achievement as a practice and a way of life. Small goals make big goals happen.

So now, I’m simply stating the big goal intentionally to anyone that reads this.

Sometimes that’s the hard part.

Here I go.

Low Resolution

High Resolution is over rated. A little bit of grain is warm. Something that looks good in analog and feels comfortable on the eyes. There’s something to be said for that.

In 2016 I’ve committed to doing at least one ink drawing every week. That’s an easy goal. A low resolution. Persistence and consistency matter more than ambition with these things.

2 years ago, 2014, my resolution was to work out once a week without fail. I did it all year. Easy. I didn’t even define “work out.” Just committed to an hour of effort a week. Last year I upped it to attempt 500 running miles with a minimum of 365. I almost hit 400 by years’ end. But if I had set out to do that in 2014 the thought of it might have worn me out.

Accomplishing big goals is about committing to do something do-able, first. Not sure where I’ll take this drawing commitment but so far I’m hitting about 5 a week. I’m already feeling them get more involved…feeling more inspiration around choosing what to draw. Feel free to follow this experimental resolution on instagram to see where it goes [+].

Dickinson’s Hope

These days, Ben Sayers is an emergency room doctor by profession. He made this great set of compositions with his turntables when he was in school circa 2001. Most of the narrative in the tracks revolved around science and chemistry but it segued to the mind, imagination and spirit — connecting an array of brilliant threads.

We were both big fans of Rob Swift and Prince Paul. You can hear that influence in most of the tracks. Humor woven into really imaginative soundscapes and rhythm.

I recently came across the Emily Dickinson poem “Hope.” It took me a minute to pinpoint how I knew the words. I remembered it from his project. So I asked him to let me upload the whole set to YouTube as a playlist.

The Facebook Buddha

A page posts an image referencing something.
A bunch of followers agree!
Another follower disagrees and litigiously shows that he has read books on the matter.
Others disagree with him pointing out perceived folly.
Others try to exemplify their own loftiness.
Others criticise his judgments.
Others criticise criticism.
He comments to disagree.
All are scratching an itch.
None are satisfied.

Blue Moon

“But he learned more from the river than Vasudeva could teach him. He learned from it continually. Above all, he learned from it how to listen with a still heart, with a waiting open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinions.”

– Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

This image is a composite made of 3 separate photos taken last Friday in the Northern Neck during the Blue Moon.